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04 January 2011 @ 06:56 pm
"I paint what I see and not what others like to see." - Manet  
I was writing some Gossip Girl meta (what is my life?) about Blair and Dan, and I wanted to prove the writers had planted a reference to Manet in Serena's 4x11 flashbacks. But looking into Manet turned up a bunch of additional references, and then I found more art references, and then I had to think about WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN... so this happened instead. Please excuse the ugly picspam.



Serena as Victorine Meurent





GOSSIP GIRL
Serena's locked down the Left Bank and become a muse to us all. Meanwhile, Blair rules the Right Bank, storming the shops and consuming the classics.


It's been awhile since the show has contrasted Serena and Blair as starkly (but sneakily!) as the premiere did. It starts with the concept of Left Bank vs. Right Bank. Blair gets the Right Bank, home to old money and the bourgeois. Serena gets the Left Bank, famous for its “bohemian ambience” and its circles of artists, writers, and intellectuals. S and B literally meet in the middle on neutral territory, at Eleanor and Cyrus’s flat on the Ile Saint-Louis. It’s very Two Queens. Or the White Queen and the Black Queen meeting at the center of the board, if you were a fan of last season's big chess metaphor.

Serena is with a new guy in every shot of her montage; Blair is forever alone. Serena is trying not to think about how she needs to choose between the two "delicious" guys she left behind; Blair is trying not to think about the ex who chose a hotel over her.




LOUIS
An American who loves Manet? It's too good to be true!


First thought: O RLY? But on second thought it actually is weird that Blair loves Manet. His style and choice of subjects (street singers? gypsies? ragpickers? drunks?) were more realist than romantic, and he never considered himself an Impressionist. Degas or Renoir would have been more Blair-like choices. But I think the writers chose Manet because they are using his paintings as a point of reference for Serena — more specifically the paintings featuring his favorite model and muse, Victorine Meurent. She was one of the most sought-after models in 1860s Paris, and Manet's paintings of her scandalized French audiences.

In the leaked script (smh) from 4x01, Serena’s Paris montage contains three references to Manet:

She drops her robe for an ARTIST in his studio. She rides down Rue Bonaparte on a vintage bicycle, heads to a CUTE GUY waiting for her with a picnic in the park.


Manet was born in 1832 at No. 5 Rue Bonaparte. We were meant to see Serena pose nude in an artist's studio and literally have lunch on the grass; the painting Blair spends her summer staring at is The Luncheon on the Grass. [When I searched for Serena + Victorine, I found this nifty review of the premiere that casts Blair as Dejeuner's forgotten, bathing nymph and Serena as Victorine, the center of attention. The reviewer even interprets Blair shoving Serena into the fountain as her attempt to recast their roles.] So the writers definitely see Serena as Victorine Meurent, the central figure in Blair's favorite painting. The references that actually made it into the episode are more subtle:




Olympia is Manet’s take on Titian’s Venus of Urbino. Unlike that Venus, Manet’s Olympia is bold and in control of her sexuality. (The painting would have a surprisingly modern sensibility were it not for the racism.) She stares straight out at the audience, no shyness or shame in her gaze. The position of her hand is especially famous. Serena being the one doing the sketching is even bolder, gives her even more control over her sexuality. And check out the sketches of Serena on the wall. Doesn’t the position of her hand look familiar?




Instead of having lunch on the grass, Serena and CUTE GUY have their picnic on the go. Serena is eating grapes, which Manet painted Victorine eating in The Street Singer. Green grapes are also a motif in another of his Victorine paintings, The Railway. (In the very right-hand corner.)




In 4x11, an episode with a bunch of references to 4x01, Serena impresses/scandalizes her classmates by teaching them how to prepare absinthe. Manet’s first painting was The Absinthe Drinker. Absinthe was a popular subject (and a popular muse, I am sure) for Parisian bohemians; Degas and Picasso's paintings of absinthe drinkers are much more famous than Manet's.

It’s really common for directors to draw inspiration from paintings. Norman Buckley, who directs GG on a regular basis, often blogs about how he is inspired by paintings, especially the paintings of Edward Hopper. (That last link even includes Picasso and Degas’s absinthe drinkers.) Back in S1, typicrobots pointed out that Buckley drew inspiration from Manet’s A Bar at Folies-Bergere for a Chuck/Serena scene in 1x13. I think the writers have taken a page out of Buckley’s book, only instead of using Manet’s paintings to frame a shot, they’ve used them to frame Serena and Blair’s characterization, and maybe also Dan and Chuck's.





Muse to Us All vs. Consuming the Classics


From the Dan/Louis parallels I'd been working on: Blair stares at Le dejeuner sur l'herbe, wishing to be Victorine (Serena). Dan stares out his window, thinking about Serena.



LOUIS
You like Manet?

BLAIR
You love Serena, don’t you?


I looked for Manet references in Serena's storyline to support the idea that Louis and Dan are being paralleled in Blair's. But there’s a more interesting subtext going on about Serena vs. Blair and maybe also Serena/Chuck (the other absinthe drinker) vs. Dan/Blair. Dan is an artist, which makes him something of an observer. In 2x05 Dan tries to resuscitate his writing by convincing Chuck to take him out so he can “experience the world of Chuck Bass.” In Paris, Blair spends her time reading and in museums, being a spectator of the stories she wants to star in. She gets “lost in a daydream” in front of Dejeuner, “transporting herself to the banks of that far away river.” And while Blair is dreaming, Serena is out living those stories. She’s the star. She’s the muse. She’s the Venus. She’s the girl in Blair’s favorite painting.

It's almost like a commentary on art and those who appreciate it as opposed to those who are its subjects. Dan and Blair are the observers whereas Chuck and Serena are the experiencers. Chuck and Serena are the kinds of people who inspire the art Dan and Blair make and love. Chuck and Serena are even the two characters Dan has written stories about.



Looking back at last season, I’m wondering if the important thing to take away from Dan not making it into Tisch (his total gracelessness when Vanessa did is what stayed with me) is that he lost his grip on who he is as a writer, which is a huge part of his identity. Serena had been the focus of so much of that energy in the past. The look on Dan’s face when he stops and watches Serena at the fountain says a lot about the mixture of awe and rightness she represents to Dan. She is the Victorine to his Manet.

Looking forward, I think Louis telling Blair she is “complicated and beautiful” may foreshadow how Dan will come to see Blair. If the artist/muse/consume dynamic is relevant to what happens between Dan/Serena/Blair, Dan being the artist gives him an interesting agency. And as the consumer of classics, Blair has power over which stories she uses to frame her actions. She's already reading from two scripts: Cinderella and the time-traveling Dark Prince. What Blair has less power over is the role she plays when Serena's added to the mix, and 4x01 was a refresher course on that dynamic. Playing nice means accepting a supporting role, and manipulating a win makes her the villainess instead of the heroine; Blair is always half way to losing lead.

Which is maybe where Dan's agency as the artist/writer comes in? When Dan wrote the script for the Tisch cabaret, he cast Blair as the wicked queen. For Dan/Blair to be real, they *both* have to recast. Dan needs to see Blair as the ~leading lady, as the complicated protagonist instead of the antagonist, as a Victorine instead of a supporting role. And Dan is so not Blair's idea of a potential romantic lead for The Movie of Her Life. I think (hope?) Blair is already interacting with both of these ideas via placeholders (Louis = Dan, Victorine/Manet = Serena/Dan) in the season premiere.

P.S. There’s also the fun coincidence that Manet seems torn between muses in Le dejeuner sur l’herbe; the girl in Blair's favorite painting has the body of Manet's wife and the face of Victorine.





you're waiting for a train...
                ...a train that will take you far away*


* JUDGE AWAY, SHAME TURNS ME ON.



While I was looking at all the Louis/Blair caps for my Louis/Dan parallels, the caps of Musee d’Orsay reminded me SO MUCH of Grand Central Station -- the windows, the lights, the clock, the architecture. Turns out that's because Musee d’Orsay used to be a massive train station.




BTW, these scenes are a pack of lies because Le dejeuner sur l‘herbe is in a separate gallery off of the main area. You can see what I mean in this picture. In reality, Leighton would have been facing the Celestial Sphere sculpture whenever she looked in the alleged direction of the painting.




There's a funky Gare du Nord clock in the background of Chuck and Eva's 4x01 arrival in Paris. They show it again in 4x02 when Eva learns the truth about "Henry." Blair meets and says goodbye to Louis with the Orsay museum's clock prominent in the background. When the clock strikes midnight, Louis and Eva turn back into pumpkins, and Henry Prince turns back into an asshole.




Just because. (Oh, Season 1. Always have, always will.)




Earlier I mentioned Manet's The Railway, a painting of Victorine Meurent at Gare Saint-Lazare. The station’s architecture also inspired Monet. Even though all the train scenes were filmed at Gare du Nord, the blocking of Chuck and Bella's Blair's final scene reminds me of Monet’s paintings of Gare Saint-Lazare.

There's a ~holy trinity~ of famous artworks of Gare Saint-Lazare, the first two being Manet and Monet's. The last one is Behind Gare Saint-Lazare, probably the most famous photograph of renowned French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. I think his photos are also referenced in 4x02?






The Lonely Boy version of View from the Towers of Notre Dame?

Unlike the references to Manet in 4x01, the references to HCB in 4x02 seem strictly visual. It's just weird that there's this preponderance of possible references to artists with famous works of a particular train station, that Chuck and Eva arrive in Paris by train, that Blair stops Chuck from ~departing her world forever~ at a train station in the most memorable scene of the Paris episodes, that Blair meets her prince at a place that famously used to be a train station... Grand Central in the finale, Y/N?




It's frustrating how Gossip Girl can be so clever in a bunch of ways that ultimately don't matter and so disappointing in the ways that mean EVERYTHING.

ETA:
VANESSA (on Dan's book)
A certain someone might actually like how she's painted. And I'm not talking about Serena.


CHUCK
People like me don't write books. They're written about.
:)

 
 
 
felicitykingfelicityking on January 5th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
I love this post! It's so brilliant and beautiful in studying the characters and how they fit into past and contemporary art and culture. I had no idea that the Paris episodes were cut like that. It's too bad that they dumbed the plot down for useless OMG Chuck woobification.

And, yes, there is someone else besides me who found it strange that Blair would like Manet. (I had handwaved it off as "this is the yet another shortcut of the writers to show us Blair is sexual." If that makes sense.)
Caitiecaitie on January 5th, 2011 02:33 am (UTC)
TY! And Manet is definitely not very Blair. It just goes to show that whenever anything on Gossip Girl makes you WTF, it's worth thinking about.

I had no idea that the Paris episodes were cut like that.

I don't even like the Paris episodes as episodes. The amount of exposition in the NYC part of the episode is literally ridiculous.
felicitykingfelicityking on January 5th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
It's not so much Blair liking Manet but that one of his artworks being one of her favorite painting that makes no sense. I can understand why she might like Manet's "dirtiness," (this is the same girl who is attracted to Chuck, king of all things nasty, and endorsed the Victrola which certainly seems to emulate Toulouse-Lautrec's art in its lowliness). When the episodes first aired, I actually thought the writers were trying to use the painting as commentary on IP. (IE: Look! This painting was SHOCKING in its day and now everybody realizes it was fuss about nothing.) Except the writers aren't that smart, or even that meta. (And although they tried to minimize the damage and make us forget it, their own writing did confirm Blair was still rightly distressed over IP.)

I forgot to add that I too rolled my eyes at the "OMG, an American who knows about art!" comment that the Prince makes. Manet is lumped in with the Impressionism (even though, as you said, he's more of Realist)--and that the art that most Americans, if they know anything about art, know about. If it had been an obscure modernist painting or Rococco or something-not- (semi) related-to-Impressionism than I could understand why Louis would be impressed. However, he had NO reason to be impressed that Blair would know about Impressionism. (If I was him, I would have called her the "stereotypical American who thinks she knows all about art when she really doesn't." Except, I do think Blair is genuinely interested in art, so I'm ignoring the writers stupidity.)

(I will admit my own knowledge of art is limited. However, I have taken sevearal art history classes and own a ton of coffee table books on art so I feel comfortable contributing my humble opinion to your eloquent posts.)

Caitiecaitie on January 5th, 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
I remember when the SACRE BLAIR promo came out, people commented on the gentleman with the cane possibly being Chuck and Blair being Victorine, speculating that the third man foreshadowed a love triangle. Someone on TV Fanatic posted that the painting is about prostitution, so I always thought it was a reference to the IP or another weird example of how prostitution keeps cropping up in Blair's storylines.

And ITA that YOU LIKE MANET? is the silly part. Particularly that painting, because it's so famous. Sometimes I think the writers have the characters say dumb things to draw attention to them, though. Like Blair exclaiming "Who pretends to be poor!?" in 4x11 when they are drawing four or five parallels between Louis and Dan.

I don't know much about art either, sadly. Serena drinking absinthe made me suspicious, and then I revisited the Paris episode and the script and Manet's complete works and the caps. It was fun!
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Muchas Smooches: hulk_kirsty on January 5th, 2011 11:57 pm (UTC)
So that's why Blair is riveted by "Le dejeuner sur l'herbe".

What a wonderful post! I love it. (You had me Googling paintings by various Impressionists in search of a woman in a crazy red dress! And the life of Manet, and who was Berthe Morisot... )

And I can't even tell you how much I can relate to your final paragraph, in that it's exactly how I used to feel about Veronica Mars after the first season.

You've probably seen this already, right? Not that Stephanie Savage is going to give much away.
Caitiecaitie on January 6th, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
I have, and it's pretty exciting considering I still remember her saying Nate/Blair would be a "blip" back before their arc even started. And to see SS voice such sense-making, nice things about Dan and Blair's connection and how it works and how it doesn't (yet) is really encouraging. I wish her screwball comedy reference was a little less Chuck/Blairish, but whatever.

(You had me Googling paintings by various Impressionists in search of a woman in a crazy red dress! And the life of Manet, and who was Berthe Morisot...

You have no idea how much time I spent doing the same thing. I was CONVINCED I would be able to find a Manet reference in Buckley's episode (4x03) but I never did manage it.
thmaymuc: pimps burn in hellthmaymuc on January 7th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
This is so amazing! I actually read it yesterday already and hoped I'd find something productive/clever to say about it, but... that didn't really work out. So just: You are amazing and this is so clever and it awed me a bit and I shall feel never-ending shame because art history is actually one of my majors and I never would have noticed it on my own. (Though now I probably will start to look out for stuff like that more attentively)

Playing nice means accepting a supporting role, and manipulating a win makes her the villainess instead of the heroine; Blair is always half way to losing lead.
...that was beautiful, A+.

Your meta is lovely, I cannot wait for the DB stuff! (Oh my god, Savage! She actually sounded like she cared about the characters.)
Caitie: *holla*caitie on January 7th, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you!

Oh my god, Savage! She actually sounded like she cared about the characters.)

When the link popped up on my feed, I was like OH GOD, HERE GOES THE BLIPPING AND THE CB PANDERING. And instead... it was like, she said such lovely things about them! Things that line up exactly with how I see them! I'm stupefied, to be honest.
12cubed: Katherine12_12_12 on January 12th, 2011 06:36 pm (UTC)
It's frustrating how Gossip Girl can be so clever in a bunch of ways that ultimately don't matter and so disappointing in the ways that mean EVERYTHING.

THIS. SO MUCH WORD. You just summed it all up in one sentence.

This post is amazing and made of win and too good for this show, frankly. :D
Caitie: !!! | D: | Sadfacecaitie on January 14th, 2011 05:29 am (UTC)
IKR. Less pretentiousness, more writing a good teen soap with feelings plz.
La femme cachée: dairla_faerie on January 13th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
I stumbled onto this from blairwaldorfs and I had to comment because all these connections you've found are BRILLIANT.

I too was a bit puzzled that Blair found Manet so arresting. Like you said, Renoir or Degas would've been easy choices for her. But thinking about it, I really like that the writers chose Dejeuner sur l'Herbe & Olympia for her. The complexity of both paintings--not to mention the forthright sexuality of both of them--make for interesting commentary on Blair's character that one of Degas's ballerinas might not have provided, and the Manet paintings also seem to work as a reflection of her brief relationship with Louis.

And I LOVE the suggestion that Blair is the nymph in the background of Dejeuner while Serena is foregrounded. That is perfection.

(and the prostitution elements of both Olympia & Dejeuner are fascinating to think about in conjunction with Blair)

It's frustrating how Gossip Girl can be so clever in a bunch of ways that ultimately don't matter and so disappointing in the ways that mean EVERYTHING.

RIGHT? It's endlessly frustrating to see the writers referencing Edith Wharton and Les Liaisons Dangereuses and then in the end it never seems to amount to anything.

Maybe some Blair/Dan will clarify everything. ;)

Anyway, this was lovely!
Caitie: gossip girl | Dan/Blair | the classicscaitie on January 14th, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
The complexity of both paintings--not to mention the forthright sexuality of both of them--make for interesting commentary on Blair's character that one of Degas's ballerinas might not have provided

Definitely. I feel a little bad for mocking Louis and Blair bonding over the AMAZING COINCIDENCE of having such an incredibly famous painting in common now.

RIGHT? It's endlessly frustrating to see the writers referencing Edith Wharton and Les Liaisons Dangereuses and then in the end it never seems to amount to anything.

Which totally applies to this meta. I have no idea if I've just wasted a lot of time reading into the references and thinking about how they might be setting the tone for the rest of the season; with this show's track record, it's totally possible that it's nothing more than a one-episode exercise in being overly clever.

(and the prostitution elements of both Olympia & Dejeuner are fascinating to think about in conjunction with Blair)


They really are. And Blair reading Gigi is another prostitution reference. Between all of that and Blair's newfound penchant for sabotaging women who sleep with Chuck by calling them whores and outing them as prostitutes... I mean, I assume this is going somewhere, but I'd prefer they not pretend Chuck sleeping with Jenny was worse than Chuck trading Blair for his hotel in the meantime.

Thanks for commenting!
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♛ bεiηg a pεrsoη is gεttiηg too complicatεd。: Quinn | Dianalesoleilluna on January 13th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
This post was amazing to look at.
I have to admit, that I haven't watched season 4 with much interest until the Dair rumors, so I didn't notice most of these parallels but the way you explained all of them really made sense. Respect for putting it all together. It makes me wonder if the writers really put that much thought into all of this or just got lucky...

I wasn't really convinced about the Blair/Manet love because I felt like Manet was the most obvious/ well known artist they could go for. I can't really see Blair enjoying his style.
I was in Paris this fall with my art class, and far we I learned the painting was frowned upon (not only because his painting methods were considered sleazy at the time) but because it was the first time after a long period that a woman who wasn't a muse or ancient goddess was shown naked. (Also there is a second naked woman in the back, and the painting was originally titled "La Partie carée" which can be translated as foursome.) And the park they're at is a place where families would go on the weekends, where Manet himself spend a lot of time watching the women bath, but was also known as a place where you could pic up prostitutes. So I guess the prostitute reference comes from there?

I'm really looking forward to your Dair meta after reading all of this.
Caitie: gossip girl | Dan/Blair | the classicscaitie on January 14th, 2011 05:26 am (UTC)
It makes me wonder if the writers really put that much thought into all of this or just got lucky...

Sometimes I think the references and parallels are ALL they put thought into, tbh. I do think more thought than usual has gone into this season, though. Juliet's arc was probably the most ambitious plotty arc they've ever done, and they teased it at the end of last season, like when Jenny mentioned that Damien had told her a story about seeing Serena and a professor together at a B&B in 3x20.

it was the first time after a long period that a woman who wasn't a muse or ancient goddess was shown naked

Yeah, it's so weird. The painting probably hung alongside a bunch of nudes, but I guess as long as they had greek columns in the background, no1curr? And you're exactly right about the prostitution reference. Personally I don't really like that take on the painting because it's so literal, but it is interesting to think about in the whole context of the Indecent Proposal.

Thanks for commenting, and I am super jealous of your trip to Paris. Putting together this post made me want to go.
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miss mongrevertigo on January 13th, 2011 10:59 pm (UTC)
This is so lovely and impressive, Caitie.
I feel bad that it's wasted on Gossip Girl though.
Caitie: *crazy*caitie on January 14th, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
You and me both. I am prayer circling that the end of the season justifies the faith I apparently still have left in this show.
ada or emrysunderhand_glory on January 14th, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
this is terrific!
Caitie: !!! | :D |  Shiny!caitie on January 14th, 2011 05:27 am (UTC)
Thanks!
Esther Figglesworth: precious weekend endingmissedshapes on January 14th, 2011 01:19 am (UTC)
I love this post! I know next to nothing about paintings so it was so interesting to read about the references to Manet. And I really liked what you said about Dan and Blair having to be "recast" in order for DB to happen.

The Serena-as-muse parts made me sad and annoyed on Blair's behalf, but that's not really new.
Caitiecaitie on January 14th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Thanks!

The Serena-as-muse parts made me sad and annoyed on Blair's behalf

The irony is that Blair not being ~a muse to us all~ is probably why she's quantifiably the museiest character on the show. Even CvZ has taken to calling her the main character of the book series.
misscanadiandreamhotcinnamonbuns on January 14th, 2011 06:05 am (UTC)
this is a beautiful post. blair waldorf (season 1) is my muse.
Caitie: gossip girl | Blair | :(caitie on January 14th, 2011 06:41 am (UTC)
S1 Blair is the beeeest. (S1 everything is the best!)
Janie: GG: Blair perfect red headbandfirstillusion on January 14th, 2011 08:11 am (UTC)
I've been wondering why they chose Manet as Blair's favourite painter because my very first thought was "Ugh, Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, such a cliche" until I realised what you did, that Manet's subject matter was not something we would normally associate with Blair.

After that, I forgot about it, but I am so glad you made this post, because it's such an interesting take on things and most of it makes sense to me. You make some very strong points on the roles of Blair and Serena. I'm not entirely convinced about Dan's role yet, so I'd love to see your Blair/Dan meta as well. :)

Thank you so much for sharing this. It's not something you see in this fandom a lot (or maybe I haven't been paying attention).
Caitie: gossip girl | Dan & Natecaitie on January 15th, 2011 03:14 am (UTC)
Yeah, I decided to take a closer look at the Paris episodes *for* my Dan/Blair post (which this totally distracted me from finishing), so I may be shoehorning Dan into something he's not a part of since that's where my head was at.

Thanks for commenting!
p_drunkwritingp_drunkwriting on January 14th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
WOW. I have no words that need to be said, or that you already don't know. Just... WOW. I did think it was a little weird to choose Manet for Blair, but I just let it be another of GG's mindless good-for-nothing plot twists. You managed to make sense of it though. Although, I tell you that it'd be giving the show too much credit to think they actually had in mind half of the things you wrote. You did it more flawlessly than they ever could have.

Ugh, Gossip Girl always had the potential to be one of those ~deep shows with lots of hints (judge away too, but I honestly though so). And like you say, it's wasted in their crappy ... everything these days. The characters had so much potential, because they have SO many layers to explore. All gone now.

You have my admiration for making this picspam. Honestly, it's amazing!
Caitie: !!! | D: | Sadfacecaitie on January 15th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
Ugh, Gossip Girl always had the potential to be one of those ~deep shows with lots of hints (judge away too, but I honestly though so). And like you say, it's wasted in their crappy ... everything these days. The characters had so much potential, because they have SO many layers to explore. All gone now.

No, I agree with you. Gossip Girl has been really disappointing on the whole, despite starting out so awesomely. I am slightly hopeful about the second half of the season, but that's probably stupid.

Thanks!


in the shadow of your heart: calikaliemiss_golithly on January 14th, 2011 08:47 pm (UTC)

it was a pleasure to read this, thank you for spending time writing it!

i think, while serena represents the central figure, blair represents both. she has the potential to be victorine (107) but most of the time she ends up being the girl in the background and the people around her, from her mother to nate, are to blame. she could be more like serena - more of a free spirit - but i feel like she realized it was better to master being the complete opposite instead of being what other people would think of as "an attempt to be like serena". blair is left and right bank (i think she is really similar to the character audrey hepburn played in funny face in that sense) and that's what makes her beautiful and complicated

i read a couple of the comments too and i think blair spends most of her time reacting instead of doing just because while she goes after what she wants she never really think about things going wrong (in old movies things never go wrong), she never goes after something dangerous or forbidden because she is smart enough to know that those things will get her in trouble, that's why when something goes wrong it hits her so hard and it's harder for her to bounce back. (one of my favorite scenes in the paris episodes is her finale meeting with louis, she has all that cinderella moment planned and it's going great but then she is leaving and she can't walk with one shoe so she has to take it off. no matter how hard she tries her real life and what she wants her life to be never really match.) serena on the other hand loves danger, she goes after the college professor because that's what she feel it's right even if her head tells her no to and in the end she gets him, because of course serena always get everything she wants.

i loved your analysis on dan/blair, i'm a chuck/blair shipper but i really enjoy their interaction since that beautiful scene in 104 and i can't wait to read more about that!

gossip girl is so amazing sometimes (i love the references to great movies or those little details) but most of the time it's incredibly bad. i feel like the books gave a smarter view of the characters, less stereotyped.

sorry for the long comment, hope everything makes sense lol i'm too tired to function.

Caitie: gossip girl | the bookscaitie on January 14th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
i think she is really similar to the character audrey hepburn played in funny face in that sense

Yes! I actually almost put in Audrey's line from "Bonjour, Paris!" about ~the den of thinking men~ in the part about left/right banks, but this was way too long already.

(one of my favorite scenes in the paris episodes is her finale meeting with louis, she has all that cinderella moment planned and it's going great but then she is leaving and she can't walk with one shoe so she has to take it off. no matter how hard she tries her real life and what she wants her life to be never really match.)

Love this take on that scene! It totally fits right in with the tension between fairytales/fantasies and real life in the first few episodes.

I love your thoughts on Blair and Serena too. Great comment, and it totally made sense!
alluringclichealluringcliche on January 14th, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
I know nothing about art but this was really beautiful and interesting. Idk I really like GG being "clever in ways that don't matter." Ha, I don't know...the really pretty scenery and art and comparisons and random references is part of why I like it.

Anyways bookmarking this.
Caitiecaitie on January 14th, 2011 09:52 pm (UTC)
Ha, I know what you mean. I love the fashion and the *amazing* location shoots and the literary/movie references. But in the end GG is a teen soap, and I wish it was a better one.
Ирина: <GG> Blair artsad_juliet on January 14th, 2011 09:53 pm (UTC)
This post is a true masterpiece! Bravo!
you're a classic like a little black dressit_was_enough on January 14th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
WOW!! This post is impressive!
Eliselisek16 on January 14th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
LOVE THIS POST! Thanks so much!
Tatiana Jarquin: Girl Crush - Bleighton <3glitterysiren on January 15th, 2011 05:01 am (UTC)
WOW :O You totally left me speechless with this post. All the connections, parallels and everything you found out is amazing :O I'm really looking forward to the Dan & Blair dynamics when the show returns because they need to become the experiencers :) Very lovely and well thought out post ;) And thanks for all those interesting links you posted as well!
an unholy mess of a girl.: GOSSIP | feathers and downcorleones on January 15th, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
It is shameful that even after all this time and all the many break ups I have claimed to have with this show, I continue to be an absolute sucker for well written meta about it. And you did a fantastic job here. I will probably recc this.
Caitie: gossip girl | Two Queenscaitie on January 18th, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the rec!

all the many break ups I have claimed to have with this show

Every time I think I'm finally read to let it go, something (usually Blair-related tbh) reels me back in. And it surprisingly is a show you can *really* talk about, even if 85% of it is frustrated ranting...
telly telly bo bellylusimeles on January 15th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
this was amazing! i never would've picked up on these details had it not been for you, but wow - i am going to rewatch these episodes at some point with this knowledge in mind and i swear it will make gg SO. MUCH. BETTER.

also, you make me want blair/dan even more badly than i did before, so hats off to you, seriously!
rachel berry ★audrey on January 16th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
I can't even begin to comment on this, I think it's the most in-depth and cleverly astute analysis I've ever read on this entire server.
Caitie: gossip girl | Blair | :(caitie on January 18th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's quite a compliment. Thank you!
(Elle): film : inception.bond_girl on January 16th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC)
Your parallels are brilliant and inspire a more forgiving rewatch of these episodes!

It's frustrating how Gossip Girl can be so clever in a bunch of ways that ultimately don't matter and so disappointing in the ways that mean EVERYTHING. Can't agree more, gah. I keep breaking up with this show every few weeks, only to get suckered back in by some genius little moment.
Caitie: !!! | D: | Sadfacecaitie on January 18th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
I keep breaking up with this show every few weeks, only to get suckered back in by some genius little moment.

Yeah, it's exactly the same way for me. Little moments that I can ~hang my hat on~ are what carry me through.
swamp_ariadneswamp_ariadne on January 18th, 2011 07:17 am (UTC)
there was never i word that i didn't like, and i'm at a loss as to what would be an intelligent response to such a deep discussion about a teen show dressed in Dallas. from the meta to the references and symbolism, costuming, etc. - this is more thought than a show of this type deserves.

everything is sharper, clearer in hindsight because by then you have a big picture. I can't wait for your Dan/Blair meta, because I have a feeling that we share several thoughts. But before I get ahead of myself, I must confess that this show's conceit as a teen Dallas (seriously I can't get over how this show's feel has evolved into an 80's overdressed drama) bothers me because its primary audience are not poised to discern subtlety or sublime storytelling. If there is truly an endgame planned/outlined (not necessarily a pairing endgame) then there should be a series character arcs which, pending on ratings and the threat of looming cancellation, may either be properly played out throughout the series life or cut short because of the impending cut. So maybe in hindsight, when this series is over and we see how the story plays out from the beginning to the end, maybe we'd appreciate it better. Maybe we'd think that the bad writing was actually sublime. Or maybe it would just really be crappy writing that we wax nostalgic about.

I agree completely that at this point Dan and Blair are the observers, while S and C are more the experiencers. The danger for experiencers is that they do not necessarily have control - things keep happening TO them. The observers withhold and ultimately are still in control by restraining action. The piano sex scene was significant in that it showed not so much a loss of control but a willing participation in her own gratification. I have to point out the bed scene with Chuck under the duvet whatever to Blair. Blair's reactions, her prim and proper smiles, her restraint, shows that though she derives pleasure from what is being done to her, it's like she is an observer of her own pleasure. The thing is Blair is often written that what she says is not necessarily what she does. She participates in continued romping about town with Chuck for the "best sex of her life" and she bemoans a loss of control, but that scene on the bed shows that she is actually quite in control.

I wonder if you would find visual meta with the whole Saints and Sinners episode as well. Becoming a sinner, going straight to Hell with Chuck, then rescinding it all because at the end that sacrifice of self would mean nothing because she would only be "Chuck Bass's girlfriend" - I don't know if that is lazy writing or brilliant. I vacillate my opinion on this because I'm not comfortable with the whole madonna/whore role they assign to blair and serena.

I love the discussion pertaining the possible sidelong references to the Indecent Proposal/prostitution thing. Is it me or is prostitution Blair's new bulimia? is this what she needs to save herself from? I don't really see Dan as saving Blair this season, but more like someone who reminds her that she is a fighter buy actually fighting with her fair which Chuck never does. But I suppose I should save that for the D/B meta post.

You are brilliant and this show does not deserve you.
Caitie: gossip girl | Blair | :(caitie on January 19th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC)
The danger for experiencers is that they do not necessarily have control - things keep happening TO them. The observers withhold and ultimately are still in control by restraining action.

Yes, this is so true. It's not like Serena or Blair's approaches to life are right or wrong; you can be a little too open just like you can be a little too closed off.

I don't know if that is lazy writing or brilliant.

Yeah, I'm the same way. Half of me is like OICWYDT, WRITERS, and the other half enjoys following the trail of breadcrumbs, thinking about these (dumb? smart? dumb?) tidbits and references and visuals.

Is it me or is prostitution Blair's new bulimia? is this what she needs to save herself from?

That's a really interesting idea. I have no idea how prostitution fits into Blair's story line or even if it does; I can't tell how far the writers are going with the references or what they're trying to say. They may just be hints about an upcoming story line since I suspect we are on a S2 parallel. (i.e. Chuck starts a minion rebellion and dethrones Blair as queen in 2x04. He makes up for it in 2x24 by quelling a minion uprising and making sure Blair wins prom queen.) I don't think they would have hit Chuck so hard at the beginning of this season if they didn't plan to have him make it up at the end of the season. Since Chuck blackmails Blair with his mistake, I expect Jack to blackmail Chuck with Blair's mistake, and I think Chuck will stop the IP from being exposed instead of how he caused Chenny to be exposed. Bad story sets up more bad story, that's basically the way I think CB works nowadays.

Anyway, I really do love the idea of Blair needing to save herself from not so much prostitution as the way she acts in her relationships, which is what made it possible for Chuck to take advantage of her loyalty and love the way he did. He knew Blair would do anything for him, and he used it against her. Blair gave up too much to be with Nate, but staying with Nate was always about control, about grounding herself in something familiar and comfortable when the rest of her life had gone to shit. What we're seeing with Chuck is harder to explain and a lot more frustrating to watch.

Thank you for your comments, they made me think a lot!
--- - swamp_ariadne on January 19th, 2011 02:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
swamp_ariadneswamp_ariadne on January 18th, 2011 07:32 am (UTC)
and i love the train reference. the train taking them far away....

i am still holding out on dan finally leaving new york. just putting it out there so the universe knows. everyone else has left new york.
Caitie: gossip girl | Dan & Natecaitie on January 18th, 2011 11:36 pm (UTC)
i am still holding out on dan finally leaving new york. just putting it out there so the universe knows. everyone else has left new york.

I'd never thought of that before, but yeah, Dan is the only one who hasn't ~run away. And he deserves a happy summer after this past one!

(This would never happen, but it would be completely amazing if Dan and Blair ran off together for the summer in the finale. They were both grossed out over being stranded together in the city during their winter break, so he and Blair leaving the city together for their summer holidays would be a really happy, appropriate parallel.)